Timothy O’Connor presents a novel and powerful version of the cosmological argument from contingency. What distinguishes his argument is that it does not depend on the Principle of Sufficient Reason. This version thus avoids powerful objections facing the Principle. We present and develop the argument, strengthening it in various ways. We fill in big gaps in the argument and answer criticisms. These include the criticisms that O’Connor considers as well as new criticisms. We explain how his replies to a Kantian (...) criticism and to the demand for contrastive explanation fail, and properly answer the criticism and the demand. We develop two new criticisms, the objection from opaqueness and the objection from constitution, and explain how these objections can be answered. (shrink)
The recent Supreme Court decision upholding Roe v. Wade and in particular, the dissent by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, sheds new light on the issue of abortion. Let us consider any stage of a pregnancy when abortion is medically safe for the mother. If at that stage it is also medically viable to save the fetus, is an abortion performed at that stage of pregnancy morally justifiable? For example, if it is, or becomes, medically safe to perform abortions after first (...) trimester of pregnancy and at the same time saving a fetus is, or becomes, medically viable or not unusual during some stage of the second trimester, can abortions during and after that stage of pregnancy be justified? With a number of qualifications I shall argue the thesis that as a general rule, but not an absolute rule, abortion in these instances is not usually justifiable. For if it is, then one will also have to grant the moral justification for a number of other highly questionable medical practices. This thesis is not to be identified with the stronger claim that abortions of viable fetuses can never be performed. There are surely exceptions such as when the life or health of the mother is in danger. But, I shall argue, the justification for making such exceptions is on different grounds than is sometimes claimed because one must weigh the health of the mother against the life of another human being. (shrink)
David O’Connor has criticized my arguments for the conclusion that God’s existence is compatible with genuinely gratuitous natural evil. In this reply, I show that his own arguments fail to achieve their objective; in addition, I point out several respects in which he has misstated my position.
O’Connor refines the “transfer” or “consequence” argument for Incompatibilism, and responds to objections (chap. 1). He argues against attempts to save freedom of action by appeal to the “simple” indeterminism of Carl Ginet and the “causal” indeterminism of Robert Kane and others (chap. 2). The main positive project of Persons and Causes is to explain the selfdetermination of action by appeal to agent causation (chaps 3-5). O’Connor’s strategy is to defend a nonHumean view about event causation, and then argue that (...) agent causation is no more mysterious or objectionable than event causation is on this nonHumean view. I will argue that O’Connor does not succeed in making agent causation palatable. But his general strategy should recommend itself to all defenders of agent causation, and his development of agency theory is an important contribution to the project. In.. (shrink)
In this reply I consider David O’Connor’s article “A Variation on the Free Will Defense” in which he tries to show that natural evil is necessary for free will by showing that it is required for the possibility of “morally creditable free choice.” I argue that O’Connor’s reply to an anticipated objection was unsuccessful in showing that humans can be moral without the property he calls “p.” that an altered understanding of what “morally creditable free choice” is would not help. (...) and finally, that if God’s moral condition is fundamentally different than ours, it could not be used as an example of p being inessential for humans being moral. (shrink)
We focus on the recent non-causal theory of reasons explanationsof free action proffered by a proponent of the agency theory, Timothy O'Connor. We argue that the conditions O'Connor offersare neither necessary nor sufficient for a person to act for a reason. Finally, we note that the role O'Connor assigns toreasons in the etiology of actions results in further conceptual difficulties for agent-causalism.
This paper first distinguishes three alternative views that adherents to both incompatibilism and PAP may take as to what constitutes an agent''s determining or controlling her action (if it''s not the action''s being deterministically caused by antecedent events): the indeterministic-causation view, the agent-causation view, and "simple indeterminism." The bulk of the paper focusses on the dispute between simple indeterminism - the view that the occurrence of a simple mental event is determined by its subject if it possesses the "actish" phenomenal (...) quality and is undetermined by antecedent events - and Timothy O''Connor''s agent-causation view. It defends simple indeterminism against O''Connor''s objections to it and offers objections to O''Connor''s view. (shrink)
My primary objective is to motivate the concern that leading libertarian views of free action seem unable to account for an agent’s behavior in a way that reveals an explanatorily apt connection between the agent’s prior reasons and the intentional behavior to be explained. I argue that it is this lack of a suitable reasons explanation of purportedly free decisions that underpins the objection that agents who act with the pertinent sort of libertarian freedom cannot be morally responsible for what (...) they do because their intentional behavior is a matter of luck. The accounts scrutinized include a Kane-type event-causal view, Clarke’s account that appeals to both agent causation and event causation in the production of free action, and O’Connor’s pure agent-causal account. I conclude by discussing an advantage these libertarian accounts enjoy over compatibilist contenders: they possess a feature necessary to accommodate the truth of judgments of moral obligation. (shrink)